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NY Looking Hopeful for GOP in 2010

Two of Three Democrats Running Statewide Look Eminently Beatable

New York is a deep blue state, with a populace that says the nation is on the right track, and which gives Barack Obama high marks. That should be the perfect setting for Democratic incumbents to cruise to re-election, right?

Not so much:

…If a Democratic primary for Governor were held today, [incumbent Dem Governor David] Paterson would lose to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo by nearly four-to-one, and Paterson would be easily beaten in a general election by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani…

In a hypothetical 2010 Democratic primary for Governor, Cuomo leads Paterson 67-17 percent, up from last month?s 53-27 percent. In December Paterson led 49-26 percent. In a potential general election matchup, Giuliani beats Paterson 56-33 percent, up from 51-36 percent last month. Paterson led 51-38 percent in December. Cuomo leads Giuliani 51-41 percent, similar to last month?s 51-38 percent…

“New Yorkers, who give the President a 70-23 percent favorable rating, believe the country is headed on the right track, however, they say the Empire State is headed in the wrong direction,” Greenberg said…

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has a 26-20 percent favorable rating (down from 34-20 percent last month), with 54 percent of voters having no opinion. Former Governor George Pataki has a 49-41 percent favorable rating. While 23 percent of voters are prepared to elect Gillibrand in 2010, 37 percent prefer “someone else.? In hypothetical match-ups, Gillibrand beats Rep. Peter King 47-23 percent (up from 40-27 percent last month) and is in a dead heat (41-41 percent) against Pataki.

There are a few things to take away from this. First and foremost, the people of New York think Barack Obama is doing a bang-up job, and that he’s already got the country turned around. Yet right now Paterson and Gillibrand look extremely vulnerable even as they bask in Obama’s glow. Does anyone think Obama will have a 70 percent approval rating in New York in November 2010? If his approval rating falls, Paterson and Gillibrand could see their standing slide further.

Further, Republicans might be out-of-luck if they hope to beat Paterson in the general election; he seems to have little chance of besting Cuomo in a primary, if the state Attorney General challenges him. Still, Rudy Giuliani seems a strong contender against Paterson or Cuomo – assuming he chooses to run.

With regard to Peter King, I caution against reading too much into his relatively weak performance against Gillibrand, as his name ID in the state is quite low. (Siena doesn’t poll it.) If he runs for the Senate that will change.

Lastly, Siena doesn’t poll on Chuck Schumer’s re-election bid. It’s hard to see his race being competitive, except in a 1994-style Republican romp. Still, given the clear dissatisfaction with 2 of the 3 Democrats running statewide next year, it would be interesting to see how Schumer is doing.

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